James Family History

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James Name Meaning

English: from a personal name that has the same origin as Jacob. However, among English speakers, it is now felt to be a separate name in its own right. This is largely because in the Authorized Version of the Bible (1611) the form James is used in the New Testament as the name of two of Christ’s apostles (James the brother of John and James the brother of Andrew), whereas in the Old Testament the brother of Esau is called Jacob. The form James comes from Latin Jacobus via Late Latin Jac(o)mus, which also gave rise to Jaime, the regular form of the name in Spanish (as opposed to the learned Jacobo). See also Jack and Jackman. This is a common surname throughout the British Isles, particularly in South Wales.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Similar surnames: Ames, Janes, Jakes, Jaques, Sales, Amos, Jaimes, Sames, Eales, Hamel

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James Ethnicity Estimate

What are the common regions with the James name?

These results combine data from everyone in the AncestryDNA® database with the last name James. The Ancestry® ethnicity regions shown are top five most common on average for these people.

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  • England & Wales


  • Ireland & Scotland


  • Germanic Europe


  • Cameroon, Congo, & Southern Bantu Peoples


  • Benin/Togo


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James Family Origin

Where is the James family from?

James Family Occupations

What did your James ancestors do for a living?

In 1881, a less common occupation for the James family was Labourer. The most common James occupation in the UK was Farmer. 7% of James's were Farmers. Farmer, Coal Miner and Agricultural Labourer were the top 3 reported jobs worked by James.

View Census data for James | Data not to scale

  • Farmer

  • Coal Miner

  • Agricultural Labourer

  • Labourer


Census records can tell you a lot of little known facts about your James ancestors, such as occupation. Occupation can tell you about your ancestor's social and economic status.

James Historical Records

What James family records will you find?

Census Record

There are 2 million census records available for the last name James. Like a window into their day-to-day life, James census records can tell you where and how your ancestors worked, their level of education, veteran status, and more.

Search 1891 UK census records for James

Passenger List

There are 354,000 immigration records available for the last name James. Passenger lists are your ticket to knowing when your ancestors arrived in the UK, and how they made the journey - from the ship name to ports of arrival and departure.

View all James immigration records

Draft Card

There are 300,000 military records available for the last name James. For the veterans among your James ancestors, military collections provide insights into where and when they served, and even physical descriptions.

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You've only scratched the surface of James family history.

James Life Expectancy

What is the average James lifespan?

Between 1940 and 2004, in the United States, James life expectancy was at its lowest point in 1941, and highest in 2002. The average life expectancy for James in 1940 was 40, and 72 in 2004.

View Social Security Death Index (SSDI) for James

An unusually short lifespan might indicate that your James ancestors lived in harsh conditions. A short lifespan might also indicate health problems that were once prevalent in your family. The SSDI is a searchable database of more than 70 million names. You can find birthdates, death dates, addresses and more.

Famous James Family Ancestors

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